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Discussion Starter #21
@wspohn

I have been looking at that photo of your coupe. They must have corrected the fitment issues with the hood. even the line where the hood and the fender meet is much tighter. on the older ones the gap was pretty large, kind of like throwing a hotdog down a hallway.

My OE hood always moved around when driving down the highway. It was actually rather distracting and annoying. I couldn't tighten it up at all either. My hood met the bumper correctly so I couldn't adjust it any lower at the front. I could drop the latches down to make it tighter at the windshield so the hood wouldn't move around as much but the lines down the fender would taper and get smaller as you got closer to the door.

Your hood/fender line is tight and even so this has to be a change they made at the factory.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
and here is the next round of photos. I have the rest of the hood all edged out and looking good. I also did some work on the driver side fender area. I still have more to do maybe another 2 hours of work or so on it. Then I have to sand everything with 320, 400 and 600 grit. Then it will finally be paint ready!!!

I have to do some more research into doing actuators to lift the hood. I may not do it because i will need to keep the 2 actuators in sync with each other and that can get complex and cost more then I would be willing to spend.

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Discussion Starter #23
OK so here are some more photos. I am just about finished with the fitting of the hood and bumper cover. I have to fix some issues with the bumper cover and then I can start sanding everything all the way up to 600 grit. One thing about paint (especially automotive) is it's only going to turn out as good as whatever the paint is applied to. So it has to be perfect at this stage in the game. because if it's not it will show up in the paint.


I couldn't leave well enough alone. I didn't care for the hood to bumper cover alignment. Because I was pretty much at the best I could get as far as adjustment goes I had to fix the fitment issue with body filler. I corrected the curve of the hood so it matched the bumper cover correctly. The hood was also sitting back into the bumper cover more then I wanted it to so the body filler fixed that issue as well.

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more of the hood, the second photo really shows how close I got the hood to match the bumper cover. and the third shows how well the headlights fit into the hood.
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The first photo is the drivers side and now you can see that the door no longer sticks out past the hood and also that the hood is properly aligned with the top of the door as well.
I had to get crafty here to add onto the hood. I didn't want to lay down a half a gallon on the top of the hood. I lifted the hood and filled where the hood meets the fender and I also filled where the hood meets the door. This was the tricky part. How do I fill that without having to take the hood off the car...

Wax Paper!!!.. I draped wax paper over the fender and creased it where the hood is supposed to sit. I then folded up a long piece and slid it behind the door, fender and hood. I then balled a bunch of it up and stuffed it behind it. This held the paper up to the back of the gap. Oh I forgot to mention.. I used wax on the edge of the door.

Then I filled everything as needed. 3 total body filler applications. The first application I made kitty hair which is chopped up fiberglass mixed with body filler. This is to add strength

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I do have a bunch of dimples and air bobbles in the bumper cover that need fixing. I just came across what looks like a crack in the bumper cover. It does not go through the cover but I am not sure how I am going to fill something as large as this thing is. and it's right on an edge. I am going to be calling Summit Racing tomorrow (this is where I bought it from) Because me having to deal with this kind of prep and fitment is just crazy! The crack in the bumper cover put me over the edge I want some if not all of my money back. Having to spend what is going to be about 20 hours getting this stuff fitted and paint ready is nutz! and I haven't event gotten to the side skirts which I am still trying to figure out how to make the one shrink. If I can't I am going to end up with it bulging out into both the front and rear wheel wells by an 1/8" which I am sure once I get new wheels for my car the tires are going to rub on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Oh I forgot to apologize for my working area. I still have yet to build a garage so I am working in one of those canopy things. I got one that has sides on it and an end that unzips I guess you can call it a portable garage. I did score a portable floor made by weathertech that has rubber grip pads on the top of it so I am not exactly laying on the ground.

It's actually kind of neat what I did. I have all of the new and old parts hanging from rods that I put inside of the thing. I added a bunch of ratchet straps to help make it stiffer and I used those straps as holders for 4 rolls of paper towels. I also put in a rigging system that I used to pull the hood way up high for storage until I was gonna install it. the neat thing about the rigging is I had it set up using 20 pulleys so it was only like 5lbs of force to lift the thing but it also moved the front of the hood faster then the back. This was so it would tilt so I could bolt it on. It worked really well actually.

I got a bunch of my heat shielding stuff in. I got the DEI gold heat wrap. I already pulled the wiring harness out from behind the block and removed all of the silver crap and I also took all of the OE tape off. I am going to pull the loom off and unpin all of the connectors so I can slide the shielding on. I have to get some large diameter shrink tubing still and also a large piece of self adhesive heat shield material that I will use when I make a shield to protect the fuse box and heater box. I still have to get the hood insulation panel. I would love to be able to keep the solstice logo so I may remove the old one from my hood and use the same self adhesive stuff on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
OK so i put in the DDM Works short shifter today. I didn't follow the directions. They had instructions to cut the rubber boot to access the bottom of the shifter!?!?!?!?. This is just a dumb thing to do. That rubber boot keeps possible exhaust gasses out of the interior of your vehicle. If you have an exhaust leak from say the donut seal where the cat meets the intermediate pipe you can have a serious problem without that boot being there and working correctly.

DO NOT FOLLOW THE DDM WORKS INSTRUCTIONS!!!

Yes it is more work to get the boot out correctly. It may take you an additional 10 minutes. But I do think that the 10 minutes is well worth it considering the time saving alternative could lead to DEATH.


So after I installed the short shifter I decided that I didn't like it. While the shift is shorter the knob still sits up to high. So I have modified the factory shift knob so not it sits down about 3/4 's of an inch. Now I have a really short throw shifter. While I do know that I lost some mechanical advantage because of leverage, I am ok with that. I deleted my power steering for crying out loud, so I am not concerned about the shifter so much. This is something that can be done instead of using the DDM works short throw shifter all together and it would provide the same experience the DDM Works part provides but with 2 major differences. The first is the knob would sit lower. the Second is it's free if you have the tools needed to do it. The tools needed are pretty basic nothing special., most people that own a home have these tools in their shed or garage.

Tools needed.
hacksaw: used to cut down a nylon washer.
4.5mm Allen key or T handle: used to get the set screw out of the shifter.
torch: A small torch either butane or even a plumbing torch will work. This may or may not be needed to get the set screw out.
Bench top grinder: for grinding down the shift post.
Snap ring pliers or 2 pick tools: If you have a beefy set of snap ring pliers they may work. I used 2 pick tools. There is a snap ring on the bottom of the shifter that has to come out.
channel locks or vice grips: for holding the shifter stem while grinding.
patience: the stem is hardened steel and takes about 45 minutes to grind.

You will not be able to get the snap ring back in place. so you can either drill a hole and use a self tapper to hold the shift knob onto the stem. Or you can drill a hole use a tap and thread it for a set screw. I did the latter.

There have been people that have not liked how "notchy" feeling the shifter was with the DDM Works shifter. I may throw back on the OE shifter but I am pretty sure that it is not going to feel like this. I believe the notchy feeling is because of the angle change with the DDM Works shifter. The DDM Works shifter changes the leverage point which changes the angle of the shifter inside of the transmission. I will let you know more when I swap it back out for the OE shifter.

I can provide indepth instruction on how to shorten the shift knob stem with photos if wanted. I did also want to mention that this only changes the stem that connects the knob to the shifter. The only alteration to the knob is the hole for the set screw /self tapper. and there is no alteration at all done with the shifter it's self. So no cutting of the rubber boot and no taking apart anything that is on the top of the transmission.

If putting in a DDM Works shifter I can provide instruction on how to do it the right way. Send me a PM and I will type up some instructions... These instructions are also going to provide the correct way to take the dash bezel off so you don't break the tabs and or lose the clips inside the dashboard. I will also give some pointers when doing the reassembly on how to make sure your dash is not going to squeak, or how to stop the squeaks if it is already making noises. It's a 5 dollar fix.
 

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I like the short shifter, although I do not subscribe to the school that says you need a heavy shift knob. I use a light one.

I haven't worked out the geometry of comparing a raised fulcrum point (DDM) to simply shortening the shift lever above the fulcrum point as you did. It would be interesting to know what the total distance a point on the top of the knob travels to get from, say, 1st gear to engage 2nd gear. Could even be about the same travel?

If you think the Solstice is bad, you'd have hated the Fiero, which had a great long lever. I bugged a guy that was talking about making a short shifter for that car until he sold me a prototype and it changed driving feel drastically!
 

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i need this monster to shift my 5spd because the force necessary to overcome the spring for the gate to reverse is just about a '2-hander'...
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I think that the Alfas probably had the longest, whippiest shift levers. They disappeared under the dash and kept on going

 

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Discussion Starter #30
@wspohn

You are correct sir. The travel is about the same. But the "notchy" feeling went away. That feeling has to be because of the change in the angle of entry the shifter makes into the transmission. by raising the ball height the stem below the ball is at less of an angle, 0 degrees would be perpendicular to the transmission. The change is < 2 or 3 degrees I would imagine but it is enough to change how the shifter is pushing on the rods inside the transmission.

My gut feeling is that something is not moving the way that it should be because of that change in angle. whether or not this can cause premature wear IDK. I would have to ask someone that is really knowledgeable about manual transmissions.

Maybe someone that has had one installed for a long time can chime in on this.

@everyone else

I have driven many a vehicle with a super long sloppy shifter. I had an 83 S10 pickup that was like that. This was one hell of an interesting vehicle to drive. I used it only to go to home depot when I had to pick up things I did not want to pick up in my Lincoln. So it sat for long periods. so the tires had flat spots. The shocks were toast the shifter was as loose as a corner walker and it had the GM steering play, about 1/2 a steering wheels worth. I pop riveted old computer cases into the floor so I wasn't Flintstoning it. It sums up to you had to have you balls securely attached to drive this thing. It got real interesting when going over 50 mph. The radio antenna would flail about because of the wobble caused by the tires, and also the shocks I am sure.

Oh yeah. It had no rear brakes. But get this.. it passed emissions and it would always start up without an issue even if it had 2 year old gasoline in it. It had a rockchester carb on it. Now get this some bat ^*$# crazy person over at GM came up with the wild idea of putting an electric heater between the carb and intake manifold so it would "pre heat" the air/fuel so the thing would start easier in the winter.. It worked but I would always wonder when I would end up with a car-b-que.

I finally gave the thing away when the A pillar on the drivers side rotted all the way through at the floor, this is when closing the door was a real task because the door had to be lifted and then closed. Try doing that from inside of the vehicle.
 

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How long did you drive it with no rear brakes?

Most people don't get that the rear brakes are as much for balance as braking. I had a line perforate on one of my race cars once, going to the rear circuit. I had not time to fix it so I just surreptitiously bent the end of the leaking brake line over on itself, clamped it with a small pair of vise grips and racers taped the vise grips in place. I was less than 1 second a lap off my best times, with no rear brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
OK so I am almost done with the front clip on the car. sooo close.... I am just finishing up sanding the fenders for the last time. I have to do a tad more work on the headlights. I want to move them up some more on the hood I know I can get them to have a better fit at the top. They are also touching the bumper cover on the bottom when the hood is closed I would prefer to have 1/16" gap under the headlights.

I am still waiting on the catted downpipe and CAI and a few other little pieces. I am not sure why it is taking so long. I started to strip down the wiring harness that runs behind the engine. I am going to route this a different way. It was a mess back there. I also got new heat tape and also fiberglass heat shield tubing. I just finally figured out how to unpin the injector plugs so I can get the tubing over the wires.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
@wspohn

Oh a long long time. I am sure it still doesn't have any rear brakes. The backing plate that holds all of the tie down and return springs (drum brakes) was pretty much gone. Totally rusted out. I couldn't find this backing plate anywhere. No junk yards, nothing aftermarket.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
On older vehicles like that 83 the rear brakes are what gave you your pedal. And being that the truck was made out of steel and not soda can tin and could hold a decent amount of weight I am sure it was 30% of the trucks stopping power.

I down shifted the thing to help slow the thing down if I had a load in it.

The gearing in it was wild. 1st gear was super short. 10mph at redline. second would get me to 20 at redline. the shift from 2nd to 3rd was a 2500rpm drop. on an engine that only produced 90hp at seal level when it was new and had a redline of 5000 dropping to anything lower then 2500rpm on a hill would be like throwing a boat anchor out of the back of the thing. That shift on a hill was always a killer even if I red lined the thing in 2nd.

And get this.. It also had 4wd drive with low.. I think in 1st you could get to 2mph at best.
 

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My race car was a 1958 MG that had 4 wheel disc brakes and a built in proportioning of around 75/25 to 70/30 or so. I can see how a drum brake car would lose feell without the rears, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
I have driven on a track a few times. Never really "raced". I was invited every year for 5 years by the local Ferrari dealership. I did quite a bit of work on their customers vehicles when they wanted electronics upgrades and other odd things they wanted done to their motorized vehicles. Well and some not motorized.... I also purchased a Lotus Elise from the Ferrari dealership and the car i bought was track legal. Not race legal because it didn't have the disconnect or the fire suppression. That was a pretty sick little car... 200 hp with a curb weight of 1900 lbs, mid engine and the aerodynamics were fantastic. That car could pull a lateral G in a corner and not so much as squeak a tire. onyl production car able to do that at the time. There may be something else now but back in the mid 2000's there wasn't.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
I just ordered a fastener kit , I don't know if anyone knows about this company or not. it's got 160 pieces I think.

I am also going to strip off all of the wire loom in the engine bay and replace it with PET wire loom. I am getting the split version of the PET so I don't have to unpin all of the connectors. I also ordered a 700 piece push pin pack that has 16 different types of push pins. I am not going to reuse any of the ones I have pulled out. I also ordered a 160 piece wire retainer clip set so I can reroute the stock engine wiring harness. I picked up a roll of 3 mm wide x 1mm thick aluminum wire that I am going to wrap around the pet every 6 inches or so to keep it closed. kind of like a wire tie but can be removed and reused. The roll is 33 feet long and comes in an assortment of colors (anodized)


If anyone is having any check engine codes that don't go away after replacing the part look at your wiring harness. I am going to tell you that it was put in really crappy at the factory. It rubs in so many places it's crazy. Most of the retainers they used that slide over a bolt have come undone on mine and the harness has rubbed through the wire loom in probably 10 different places that I have discovered so far. I am going to make a proper bracket for the front of the block to support the radiator hose and assorted harnesses that run through this area. and I am rerouting the harness behind the block and also the one that is between the ABS block and the engine. The latter is going to be the one that is a HUGE pain to do because of the brake lines and the EC lines and the harness being woven all through them. It's probably going to take me a week to do this, but it is a must

The 2 2places to look for rubbing is behind the engine and also between the ABS solenoid block and the engine. The front of the engine also might be a good place to check as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
I am contemplating tackling the lower radiator hose. I might have one made from aluminum if I do decide to tackle it. It would have to be made probably 3 sections and have some kind of a clamping system with O rings to join the pieces together. But that hose should have never been there. It should have been an aluminum pipe from the get go.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Just finished up splitting the factory air box bracket off of the upper radiator bracket. Theye were tack welded together. They didn't do a great job with it originally it was all rusted between the 2 pieces. So a bit of sanding/grinding and a quick spray of black appliance epoxy paint and it will look like I had never done anything to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
OK so how does one deal with the wife getting jealous of the car???? I am trying to handle that one currently and I have yet to come up with a solution. I need to get this thing finished before the show starts to fall because I am working in a portable garage. and this is not going to be good if it gets any kind of snow weight on it. We can get snow as early as mid September where I am, tho it is unusual!.

I have been spending quite a bit of time moving the wiring harness, vacuum lines and coolant lines. I cannot even begin to tell you the number of spots that were badly rubbed on the wiring harness and the coolant lines. It wasn't going to be much longer before I was going to have a coolant leak or some electrical problem. GM used those stupid wire holders that slides over the end of a bolt all over the place. Those things come undone and don't hold at all. The coolant lines being rubbed was because of poor routing and sitting against the engine block (which moves).

So I ended up pulling most of the wiring harness out and re routing it the best that I could without having to remake the damned thing. I bought all new clips to hold the harness in place. I removed all of the tape and loom from the large trunks and put new. I used PET loom and a whole lot less tape. This made the harness a heap more flexible. So I traded off using several rolls of tape to hold to harness shape for a slew more clips to hold it in place. The clips are better for the job. I got the clips that are the ones that latch all the way around the harness and have the Christmas tree style pin on it. You know the ones I am talking about, the ones that are a pain to undo. So I am pretty sure that the harness is not going to be rubbing against anything any more.

I split the HUGE trunk that runs from the drivers side of the block to the ECU. It is now 2 trunks one for each of the connectors on the ECU. This made it easier to route the thing past the brake line snafu at the ABS valve body. It also opened up a nice path from the radiator to the back of the engine block!!!

I am going to be relocating the lower radiator hose. It will no longer be between the frame rail and the block it will run between the hood lift strut and the intake. Here are 2 crappy drawings I did showing the old paths of the lines and the new paths. keep in mind I did not duplicate all of the twists and turns each line made to get where it needed to go. There were i believe 7 or 8 bends in the lower radiator hose alone!.

this is the way it is now.

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And this is with the hoses rerouted. Now remember this does not show the bends and it also does not show the height change to the lines.

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If I run into an issue with an air pocket in the oil cooler still I will add a small piece of rubber hose hose where the lower radiator hose connects to the 45 degree connector. This would allow me to squeeze the hose to restrict flow forcing the coolant through the oil cooler to remove any air pockets. I am thinking that there may still be an issue there. I am not 100% sure yet.I am hoping that making the lower radiator hose higher then the oil cooler is going to allow air out of the cooler. The connection from the oil cooler outlet to the lower radiator hose being how it will end up should also cause a venturi on that oil cooler outlet and I am hoping this is the case because then it will suck any air out of the oil cooler as well. This would happen if the water neck is designed so that there is no back pressure caused by the lower radiator hose at the water neck. If there is sufficient back pressure then coolant is going to get forced down the oil cooler inlet to relieve the pressure and push the air out. So either way I should not end up with an issue with the oil cooler getting air bound at all.

Without knowing the pressures at the water neck it is impossible to know if it is going to work or not.


Oh yeah! I also made a right proper set of brackets to hold the wiring harness and other rubber lines that cross the front of the block. This is the place where I thought I was going to have an issue with something getting tangles up in the belts. I couldn't keep those lame slide of the end of a bold connectors to hold. they keps on falling off causing everything to drop because they had everything attached to a single one of those connectors. I also split that harness up as well and moved where the battery was grounded to the engine from the front drivers side over to the passenger side where it belonged.

I will get photos up tomorrow of my progress.
 
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